Flipping Things

One of the assignments of the Master Design Research I’m doing is writing a visual essay. It can be seen as an exercise for my final publication, which hopefully will be done in January 2019. Of course I decided to publish this essay on the web. The web is my medium. 

The Jargonizer

At the 2018 What Design Can Do conference in Amsterdam I hosted one of my Exclusive Design Challenges. 20 attendees worked on five cases for three real people with real disabilities: Marijn, a developer who is motor disabled, Marie, a designer who is Deaf, and Larissa, a student who is blind. The different teams came up with a few very interesting ideas. There was one team that basically said well, if all websites are boring and look the same anyway, then they should all look like a boring simple grid with one single action in each grid cell. Which would be a perfect solution for Marijn, who has difficulty with fine motor control. I should make a prototype of this idea one day. I did make a simple, working prototype of an idea that another team came up with though. I’d like to know what you think of it and I’d like your help with testing its use. But first let me explain. 

The 3rd International Disabilities Studies Conference

Last week I visited the third International Disabilities Studies Conference in Amsterdam. I was very curious to see what the academic approach to accessibility would be. Is it completely different from the practical world of accessible web design where I come from? Where’s their focus? And of course, what ideas can I use for my own research. 

Exclusive Design at Beyond Tellerrand

The amazing Marc Thiele invited me to give a talk at his incredible Beyond Tellerrand conference in Berlin. The line-up was simply amazing. Mina Markham did a beautiful talk which is worth your time for so many reasons. You should all watch it. And I absolutely loved the talk that Paula Sher did. She is even more fantastic on stage that she is on Netflix. 

The First The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting Exclusive Design Challenge

In the past year I recorded conversations with an eclectic mix of 40 designers and published them on my site under the moniker The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting (mostly in Dutch). This summer I decided to invite all my guests for the very first The Good, The Bad, and The Interesting Exclusive Design Challenge. This weekend 16 people showed up for this event. I’m probably biased, but it was fantastic. (A more detailed report of this event can be found here) 

I created Journa11y

I created a first iteration of a little tool I plan to use. Or to be more precise, a tool I hope you will use every now and then. It’s inspired on a project Manon Mostert – van der Sar made, where she asked makers in het maker’s lab to log their failures in a booklet. I ask you to log design decisions that influence accessibility on a website. And I call it Journa11y. 

Why I do accessibility

One of my coaches at the Design Master course asked me what I mean when I use the term accessibility. I tried to explain what I mean by quoting a few sources that explain it quite clearly (I hope). But that post doesn’t necessarily explain why I chose accessibility as my subject. There are three reasons why I like accessible web design. It’s possible, it’s a friendly thing to do, and it’s not very hard. 

What does accessibility mean?

One of my coaches at the Master Design course I’m following wondered what I mean when I say accessibility. I’ve heard the term so often that I forgot that the definition I use is not common at all. In this blog post I’ll try to explain what I mean by looking at a few definitions used by different organisations. 

Creating awareness around accessibility

When it comes to making websites accessible, there’s a lack of awareness among the people who design and build websites. At least, that’s what I have to conclude after speaking to quite a few different specialists. I spoke to people who build websites, who design them, who lead teams, who use websites with a screenreader, who study to become a web designer, and I spoke with accessibility specialists in different fields. They all agree. There is a lack of awareness. People don’t know it is possible to create websites that work for everybody. And if they’ve heard of accessibility they think it’s hard to do.